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The Age of Selfie-ishness

Jan 18 2015 Jeff Wilson

It’s been a year and a half since my last post here (Cryogenics, who knew it would actually work!), so I figured I’d restart on a humorous note by covering…


The Selfie! A word recently added to the Oxford dictionary to immortalize and make official the act of visual self-love.  A leading and highly meaningful contribution to the English language I would attribute to millenials (god bless them one and all!).


To be honest, and I’m showing my age here, up until recently I thought a selfie was something teenage boys did in the bathroom while running the shower for 45 minutes and enjoying the Sears catalogue… (insert whimsical and reflective pause here for all you GenX men).


It seems that while the previous activity can be associated, my understanding of a selfie is too narrow. The selfie, according to Oxford is something worthy of considerable respect with both the Pope and the Obamas being referenced as having done it (still sounds dirty to me but whatever).


Getting past all that, I wonder at where all this is going to go and how marketers will try and tame the consumer using the selfie past the typical “take a picture of yourself enjoying our product to win a chance at a prize of our product” type promotions. To me this goes deeper into the human condition. Why is the Selfie so prominent now? What has driven it? What is perpetuating its rise to Oxford stardom?


If you are doing a selfie (snicker), you are sharing with the world, friends, family, colleagues, etc… a personal moment with you as the centre. Therein lies the key. You are the centre. Is it narcissism? Obsession? Poor judgement? An inability to realize no one cares?  Has society reached a point where sharing a picture of ourselves or multiple pictures of ourselves is the ultimate expression of who we are? I certainly hope not. I think that either way you slice it, you cannot avoid the selfish aspect of the selfie. A recent study put forward a theory that men (and women I would add) who exhibit over the top selfie behaviour via social media are likely to be narcissistic and have psychopathic tendencies. Anyone else not surprised at this?


Me + Me Marketing

The Selfie is the image version of talking about yourself ad nauseam – “me, me me, me. But enough about me, what do you think of me?” now in vivid colour! Unfortunately, with every consumer trend, comes the inevitable marketing shift to take advantage of it. With the selfie “chumming the water” so to speak, the marketers are circling the swimmer looking to take a nice big bite for themselves. One college has already seen a way to take advantage to improve your Selfie skills from hobbyist to expert which really makes me weep for the state of higher education.


But here’s the problem, marketers are all about themselves too (meaning the brand they represent which can many times be themselves). But now the struggle will be to get the consumer to take their attention away from themselves long enough to pay attention to the brand. Notice a trend here? It isn’t about you, it’s about me! Smart marketers will harness the power of selfie to make it about them though. So here are some ideas to get you started!


1. Harness the power of butt pics!

The Belfie (butt selfie) and Belfie stick  to take the pic is a common type of selfie amongst singles wanting to show other singles their hindquarters. Yup… The crafty marketer will recognize the opportunity of this new rear real estate for proper branding and promotion. For someone like Kraft Foods, it’s a chance to take something like Kraft Singles, create the app that enables the consumer to add cheese to those buns! This Belfie brought to you by Kraft Singles – Enjoy Every Single Moment… of My Butt!


2. Brand the stick that takes the Selfie!

The selfie stick (or narcissi-stick – best name ever by the way) is a relatively new phenomenon enabling the selfie subject to enhance and improve the angles of their final product. As a brand, why not enable the better selfie and combine sports while you’re at it! For companies like Spalding, Callaway, TaylorMade and Wilson you can take your golf clubs, bats, tennis rackets, etc… and make them into selfie sticks! Combining sports equipment and narcissi-sticks into one piece of awesome gear – drive a ball off the tee and snap a selfie while it’s still in the air with the Selfie Driver!


I think those two ideas are marketing gold and that’s all I’m going to giveaway for now (you’re welcome!). I’ll leave it to the rest of you to generate more innovative ways to take advantage of the selfie. Either way, I’m sure marketers will continue to find a way to run with scissors on this new trend.


In the meantime, while I don’t agree with taking selfies personally, I will continue to share cock pics with all my friends and family. Although we used to refer to them as roosters on the farm…



Photo licensed via Creative Commons – By Žiga (Own work)

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About the Author

Jeff Wilson is a marketing futurist, abstract thinker and customer acquisition specialist. For over fifteen years Jeff’s work has assisted many leading global B2B and B2C enterprises to significantly improve how they attract and engage prospective customer to turn them into profitable relationships. Past clients include HP, IBM, Home Depot, DOW Chemical, ING Direct, Symantec, Syngenta and MV1 Canada. Jeff's work is based on a deep understanding of the emotional side of human behavior and how to influence people in online, mobile and social environments to drive measurable growth in qualified leads, improve conversion and build positive brand presence. Jeff’s professional writing and speaker career is growing. He is a frequent contributor to business and marketing publications as well as being a speaker on the topics of customer acquisition, influence, and customer experience design. When not working, Jeff can be found enjoying life to the fullest as a Dad to his 3 young children in Toronto, Canada.

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